A man has died after an oak tree collapsed 20ft down a steep embankment onto a houseboat in Cornwall last night.
Emergency services, including an inshore lifeboat, rushed to the scene at Sailors Creek, Flushing, near Falmouth, at around 5.30pm to reports that the falling oak, which sounded like a ‘massive earthquake’, had crashed onto a boat.
The man in his 50s, who was trapped in the wreckage, was brought to the shore by the Coastguard Rescue Team where he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The boat’s owner Lee Moody, who was inside the boat at the time, told how his girlfriend desperately tried to save his friend’s life by holding his head above the rising tide after the tree crashed into the vessel and tore the mast down.
Emergency teams rushed to the scene at Sailors Creek, Flushing, near Falmouth, at around 5.30pm last night after the tree fell onto a houseboat. A man in his 50s was pronounced dead at the scene
He told The Packet: ‘It was like a massive earthquake, then a massive smash and it was a massive oak tree that’s down.’
Mr Moody, who had just come out of hospital after an operation, described how his girlfriend tried to save his friend by holding his head above the water as he lay in the wreckage.
He added: ‘I couldn’t get down to help, so my girlfriend went down and was trying to save him with the tide coming in trying to hold his head up out of the water.
‘It was coming in around him he was all crushed. He had his daughter watching it all.’
Another witness said he had been inside his boat when he heard a ‘shattering’ crash and ran outside to hear locals shouting along the embankment.
A spokesperson for the coastguard said: ‘At 5.30pm today (2nd January), HM Coastguard received a report of an incident involving one person onboard a vessel at Sailors Creek, Flushing, Falmouth.
Devon and Cornwall Police said the man’s death is not being treated as suspicious but as accidental.(Stock image)
‘Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team and Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat were sent and assisted in a multi-agency response, in which Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service extracted and recovered the person from the vessel.
‘The casualty was then passed into the care of the South Western Ambulance Service at the scene for immediate medical attention. Devon and Cornwall Police were also in attendance at this incident.’
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called following reports that a tree had fallen and man on the beach had been Injured.
‘The coast guard and RNLI lifeboat also attended the scene and the man was brought to shore where he was seen by paramedics.
‘The man in his 50s was confirmed deceased at the scene, his next of kin have been informed.
‘At this time the death is not being treated as suspicious but as an accidental death.
‘We are carrying out inquiries today and in due course a file will be prepared for the coroner.
‘We’re asking for anyone who witnessed the incident tot contact the police on 101.’